I-73 In Virginia
I-73 was originally to use I-77 through Virginia as a bridge between West Virginia and North Carolina. But as with any big project, others caught wind of this idea and wanted their share of the pie. Thus, I-73 was rerouted to follow US 460, I-81, and US 220 through Blackburg and Roanoke, Virginia.

Rich Creek, the end of US 219 ahead. Westbound US 460 is on the otherside of this hill to the left.

The section of US 460 from Rich Creek to Pearisburg is refered to as The Narrows. You can see the New River to the right of the EB lanes, and where the Narrows name comes from (again WB US 460 is to the left, on the otherside of the hill)

For all the divided sections of US 460 between I-77 and Blacksburg, there are just as many parts that will have to be by-passed. This photo is in Pembroke. Obviously, this would not work for an interstate. In the above photos, VaDot will have to decide how to route I-73 along the New River as well. A parkway might work along the Narrows, but would a freeway?

US 460/Smart Rd interchange (Blacksburg - Christiansburg)

The biggest I-73 related project currently going on in Virginia is the Smart Road project. The map below shows the complexity of the interchange, south of Blacksburg for Smart Road, Business US 460, and Bypass US 460.

You come upon the exit for the Ramada hotel and what's ahead of you?

Looking east from behind the Ramada towards the Smart Rd/US 460 complex

The bridge is for the Smart Rd, the (then recently opened) US 460 connector (between the Blacksburg and Christiansburg bypasses) goes beneath it.

Attempt with my 300mm Zoon lense to pick up that road sign in the center. You can see the current 2 lane Smart Rd, while the right side is being prepared for a divided highway.

You can see the construction for a new Smart Rd bridge over the new US 460.

Similar picture as above, but a wider view, you can see some of the other ramps for US 460 here.

You're looking north, the bridge(s) are for Business US 460. Ramp in the foreground goes to US 460 bypass south. I'm not sure where middle road goes.

Amongst the electric poles, is the US 460 bypass (going from left to right). Off on the horizon to the right is work on widening the Smart Rd.

Somewhere east of Christiansburg, I-73 will meet up with I-81, and yet again have a wrong-way multiplex (I-81N/I-73S) to Roanoke.
This picture is along I-81 NB near exit 132

What is currently I-581 in Roanoke, would also include I-73 (would I-581 get retired if I-73 was built/signed?) designation. Once south of Roanoke though, the fun begins again as to where I-73 would go.





I found this placard in the medium along US 220 between Roanoke and Rocky Mount. I'm not sure as to how one gets to either Philadelphia or Georgia from US 220, or the routing of the Carolina Rd beyond Southern Virginia.







US 220, south of Roanoke, is a 4 lane divided highway. However it was a "twined" highway (originally 2 lanes, new 2 lane section added along the way), and is considered to be a dangerous highway by the locals. Thus, while outsiders (like me) would think current US 220 could handle the I-73 designation, VaDot has decided on an alternative route(s) for I-73/US 220 south of Roanoke.

More of the same, with some trees in median.

I thought I took this photo along the Martinsville By-pass, but I have since been corrected and that this is the Ridgeway Bypass (south of Martinsville) along US 220. Some other comments about the Ridgeway Bypass sent to me by Lou Corsco (from November, 2004):
"Recent VDOT improvements around VA 87 show that I-73 will likely not be designated along US 220 from US 58 to the NC line."
Thanks for the information Lou!


Virginia DOT Smart Rd site

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Smart Rd web collection - Photos, papers, and contacts

Roanoke Times

Page created on August 26, 2003/ last updated on January 22, 2005

Questions, comments, and submissions can be sent to Sandor Gulyas

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